Monday, March 05, 2007

Mascara trivia: Maybelline

Maybelline's Great Lash mascara is probably one of the most, if not THE most iconic product in the cosmetics landscape. Not only is it the most popular mascara in the United States, the company estimates that one tube is sold every 1.6 seconds. The ubiquitous green and pink tube has found its way into the makeup bags and hearts of many women since its debut in 1971 although opinion is divided about its efficacy and status. I'm personally neutral/positive, but by keeping a tube in my bag, I feel as though I own more than just a mascara.

Mascara is Maybelline's flagship product not just because of phenomenal sales figures, but because the company was founded by T.L. William in 1915 to sell the mascara he had concocted for his sister Mabel two years before. A chemist by training, William is credited as the creator of modern mascara, and his lash darkening formula was a blend of coal dust and Vaseline (petroleum jelly). In fact, the company's name is a combination of William's sister's name, Mabel, and Vaseline. How's that for a big brother? The first Maybelline mascara did not come in a tube but was a cake formula packaged in a compact that was meant to be applied with a comb. The advertising slogan "Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's Maybelline" did not appear until 1991, and in 1996, cosmetics giant L'Oreal acquired the company.

Just for kicks, here's a vintage Maybelline ad from possibly the 60's, judging from the mascara wand, which did not appear until 1958.

For comparison's sake, here's a more recent ad:

Which advertisement appeals to you more? :)

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